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South African deal agreed as MPs due to elect president

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  1. ANC’s Thoko Didiza elected speakerpublished at 15:52

    BREAKING

    The ANC’s Thoko Didiza has been elected speaker of the National Assembly with 284 votes. She beat the EFF’s Veronica Mente, who got 49 votes.

  2. Why do MPs vote for the president?published at 15:46

    South Africans do not directly elect the president, instead they vote for parties and the seats in the parliament are directly proportionate to the share of the vote each party received.

    The MPs then go on to vote for the president at the first sitting of parliament. That vote is expected to happen in the next few hours.

    Since the start of the democratic era 30 years ago, this vote has been a formality as the ANC always held more than 50% of the seats in the National Assembly.

    But this time it has had to find coalition partners as it did not get an absolute majority. A deal to back Cyril Ramaphosa for a second term was only agreed a few hours ago.

  3. What has happened so far today?published at 15:37

    It’s now coming up to 16:40 in South Africa – if you’ve just joined us, here’s what you’ve missed:

    • The ANC and its historical opponent, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has signed a deal to form a coalition government – other parties have also been invited to join what is being called a government of national unity
    • The DA said it will back Cyril Ramaphosa to remain as South Africa’s leader – a vote on who becomes president will take place later today
    • The new unity government disclosed its priorities – such as creating jobs and tackling crime – in a “statement of intent”
    • Votes for the speaker of parliament are currently being counted
    • New MPs, elected in the 29 May poll, were sworn in this morning

  4. A remarkable step – ANC secretary-generalpublished at 15:17

    Media huddle around Fikile Mbalula

    The ANC has broken its silence on its power-sharing deal.

    Talking in a media huddle in parliament, Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula says the government of national unity is on track and that today’s deal with opposition parties is a “remarkable step”.

    He says: “We are engaging beyond this sitting on what needs to be done to constitute the government of national unity. Our work doesn’t stop.”

    He adds that the ANC has circulated the statement of intent on the unity government and is giving parties a chance to consider the document.

    Media huddle around Fikile Mbalula
  5. Parliament suspended while votes countedpublished at 14:58

    Nobuhle Simelane
    BBC News, Cape Town

    Parliament is now suspended while votes for the speaker of parliament are counted.

    Outside the chamber, some dignitaries, who have been invited by guests, are sitting in the dining hall.

    We have spotted party leaders of Action SA, led by Herman Mashaba.

    Action SA will have five MPs in the new National Assembly.

    The party declined to hold talks with the ANC and will not form part of the government of national unity.

    In the halls of parliament, some dignitaries are also watching proceedings from provincial legislatures, where voting for local leaders is taking place.

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